Friday, March 24, 2006

Christian Peacemaker Teams: A roundup...

The Ingrates Say Thanks, BUT...
Well, look at this addenda posted at 9pm EST tonight by the radical left-wing Christian Peacemakers Team:

Addenda 23 March 2006, 9 p.m. ET
We have been so overwhelmed and overjoyed to have Jim, Harmeet and Norman freed, that we have not adequately thanked the people involved with freeing them, nor remembered those still in captivity. So we offer these paragraphs as the first of several addenda:

We are grateful to the soldiers who risked their lives to free Jim, Norman and Harmeet.

BUT then the belated, grudging expression of gratitude is immediately followed by this:

As peacemakers who hold firm to our commitment to nonviolence, we are also deeply grateful that they fired no shots to free our colleagues. We are thankful to all the people who gave of themselves sacrificially to free Jim, Norman, Harmeet and Tom over the last four months, and those supporters who prayed and wept for our brothers in captivity, for their loved ones and for us, their co-workers.

We will continue to lift Jill Carroll up in our prayers for her safe return. In addition, we will continue to advocate for the human rights of Iraqi detainees and assert their right to due process in a just legal system.

Ingrates to Their Very Souls
It's not clear whom the CPT statement means by "our enemies." But the only enemy they seem to recognize is the U.S. and its allies, whose "occupation" of Iraq is the "root cause" of the ex-hostages' captivity, and whose detention of "thousands of Iraqis" they liken to their own kidnapping and (in one case) murder by terrorists.

CPT Celebrates "Release" of Captives in Chicago
I popped over to the CPT website and read about the celebration, called Jake, and we made plans to check it out. Following is a pictorial of the event (with commentary, of course!)...

Ingratitude Isn't a Christian Value
Their kidnappers may have done what they did because of the presence of coalition troops, but without the troops, there would be still be violence done to people in Iraq. It would be state-sponsored, however, which apparently the CPT folks would prefer to violence that results in the ability of the people to determine the course of their own country.

Churches urged to consider more radical peacemaking following Iraq hostage release
“Christian peace makers have great respect for those who carried out the operation to free the captives, but they nevertheless remain firmly committed to nonviolence as the only effective, long-term way to break the cycles of hatred, revenge, terror and killing which are destroying Iraq and threatening the world.”

"Christian Peacemaker Teams have made it clear that they will not be deterred by threats or opposition. They are tough-minded people who know the situation and know what they were doing. When Jesus called on his followers to make peace, he never said it was going to be anything other than risky – and he paid with his life.”

"The answer that our Christian community gives to these questions has implications for all of our future and it requires our best thinking and action. In the face of overwhelming danger should peacemakers leave Iraq? Do peacemakers belong in such confusing conditions?"

Quoting the words of Jesus Christ about peacemaking in the gospels, which have inspired such figures as Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jnr he said; "I would like to invite congregations and parishes to take one or more Christian Education hours to discuss the following scripture, Matt. 5: 9-15 in the backdrop of this experience of captivity and the ongoing crisis of detainees and captives."

"Can we work to answer the question, how should Christian peacemakers place themselves into difficult situations where terrorism is rampant? Is there a more disciplined way in which peacemaker work might function more effectively in our congregation to overcome terrorism and war? These are the two questions I bring to these words from Matthew. You are invited to ask your own questions from your situation remembering that our answers have everything to do with the future of our children, our youth and students, our family life and retired people."

Similar nonviolent initiatives to those run by Christian Peacemaker Teams in hotspots around the world have received widespread praise by such people as former US President Jimmy Carter.

The varieties of pacifism: (Part I)--Gandhi's absolutism
There is an ancient Talmudic saying: "He who is kind to the cruel ends up being cruel to the kind." The fact that in Gandhi's efforts to stop violence "he indirectly provoked far more violence than was in his power to control" is a good example of that principle in action.

Gandhi is venerated by peace activists worldwide. I wonder whether they have studied his actual words, or the real-world consequences of his actions. If they did, would they still emulate and revere him?

A Simple Twist of Fate
HE (Tom Fox) CAN TEACH us about forgiveness. Tom would want us to forgive the person who killed him because his violent death was an act of fear, not an act of terrorism. His capture, along with James Looney, Harmeet Sooden and Norman Kember, his CPT co-workers, was an act of desperation, not one of hatred. The actions of the members of the Swords of Righteousness Brigade have been out of anger at something bigger than these four men. It was retaliation, perhaps, but they picked the wrong people to victimize. He would be quick to point out that thousands of Iraqis have lost loved ones, through kidnapping or death, for decades. He would mention that his death is one of countless others in the name of war. He would not want to be made an example of, he would not want to be seen as anything other than another loss during wartime. He was a soldier for peace.


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